Mental Health and Wellbeing
At Elm Court School the mental health and wellbeing of both our pupils and staff is of primary importance.
We are committed to preventing mental health and wellbeing difficulties through the creation and nurturing of a safe and calm environment where mental health issues are less likely to emerge. We aim to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the school community and instil resilience in pupils.
At Elm Court we have a Mental Health Lead, who works alongside the PSHE Lead and with external agencies to develop and maintain the curriculum for PSHE. There is a focus on promoting pupils’ resilience, confidence and ability to learn. We endeavour to promote good mental health and enhance pupils’ social skills, through one-to-one, group and intervention work, or ELSA sessions.
The Mental Health Lead liaises with health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to ensure the needs of pupils with mental health and wellbeing difficulties are effectively supported.
We use a preventative approach at Elm Court which includes teaching pupils about mental wellbeing through the curriculum and reinforcing these messages in our activities and ethos. By equipping staff with the knowledge required, early and accurate identification of emerging problems is enabled. Elm Court provides early support for pupils experiencing mental health and wellbeing difficulties by:
employing efficient referral systems
evidence-based early support
We ensure that all staff have a good understanding of the mental health support services that are available in their local area, both through the NHS and voluntary sector organisations. We also promote the use of external agencies which the school provides for all staff who are experiencing difficulties.
Each half-term, the school has a focused week on Mental Health and Wellbeing. Pupils are given access to resources to support them with their understanding of good and poor mental health and wellbeing.
Elm Court has strong links with external agencies. The school can provide swift access to and referrals for specialist support and treatment for pupils and their families.
We have established and maintained a culture of high expectations for our pupils including pupils with mental health and wellbeing difficulties, providing them with all the opportunities available to other pupils.
At Elm Court we deliver Music, Art, Talking and CBT Therapy. Pupils can access these services through a referral system within the school.
More about Art Therapy…
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art and the creative process as its main mode of expression and communication. Drawing, clay work, painting and sand play can all provide ways to communicate for pupils who find it hard to express themselves verbally. Pupils can explore any issues, fears or anxieties they may be experiencing, in turn supporting their psychological, emotional, educational, social and physical development. Importantly, art therapy can help to reframe the way pupils think about and approach their emotions and to be active and creative in the process of dealing with them.
The therapy takes place in a safe, confidential space and is pupil-led and non-directive, meaning that the pupil works at their own pace. There is no right or wrong way of creating art, and pupils do not need to be 'good' at art to benefit from art therapy. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be fun and enjoyable. Art therapy sessions run on a one-to-one basis once a week for 45 minutes each.
Art therapy may benefit children who:
have poor self-esteem
are withdrawn or anxious
have severe communication difficulties
have experienced family difficulties or bereavement
have difficulty accessing the curriculum, e.g. because of emotional difficulties
have suffered abuse, bullying or trauma.
More about Talking and Play Therapy…
‘As a Talking and Play Psychotherapist/Counsellor, I work to support young people with any emotional support they may need. Using a mostly person-centred approach with aspects of psychodynamics, pupils are supported and guided through anything they choose to bring to their sessions. Pupils are given the autonomy and freedom in the space to explore their feelings, relationships with others and relationships with themselves through a combination of verbal and nonverbal play or solely talking. They begin by creating a plan of what they want to gain from their sessions, and they review their feelings in regards to their therapy on a termly basis and having the freedom to stop when they feel it is necessary. Sessions are strictly confidential and only potential harmful or safeguarding risks will be shared to ensure the safety of the young person. This is a space for pupils to explore and share in a space that is safe, non-judgmental and allows for them to receive unconditional positive regard, congruence and empathy.’